One of the things I’ve learned about Christmas giving is that Christmas is about loving, not making sure the retail value of the presents you give match the retail value of the ones you receive. Come on, that’s just craziness!
Here are some of my favorite simple Christmas presents.
1. WRITE A CARD.
Adults usually have the means to buy more or less whatever they want, but sometimes love isn’t so easy to come by.
The very simplest present you can give is to write a honest blessing to someone. Make a list of what you appreciate about them! Tell them you love them! If it’s someone you don’t know (or…. quite honestly, cannot stand….) write a blessing for them from scripture. An honest word endures forever.
If you have kids, have them draw pictures for their grandparents, aunts and uncles, or family friends. To take things up a notch, mount their painting behind a frame (yes, those dusty old frames from the attic can be painted, stained and/or sparkled and re-used). Or, attach their tiny masterpieces to a magnet!
If your kids are too young to actually draw something, go modern-artsy with paint! Grab an old canvas (re-paint it a solid color) and let them smear and sprinkle to their heart’s content.
Got lots of broken crayons? Google melted crayon art for fun ideas of how to use them up!
Or mount a piece of your child’s origami….
Guys like food. Girls do too. You really cant go wrong! And even though we all know they could afford to make or buy their own, admit it…. everyone gets tired of the same old same old. AND you are saving them grocery store/cooking time!
For families: homemade bread.
Kids: cereal bars (mix their favorite cereal with melted marshmallows, form into bars, let cool, decorate and package festively.)
Health nuts: Make your own trail mix and package it in pretty single-serve bags.
Athletes: Cliff bars, fruit leather or fruit.
Office friends: Chocolate covered pretzels (white chocolate w/ crushed candy canes sprinkled on top, milk chocolate with peanut-butter chip drizzle, dark chocolate w/ craisins…. the flavor combos are endless.)
4. A PLANT
We don’t want to think about it now but…. (winter is gonna get dreary and depressing at some point.) Who can help but smile at the sight of a little cactus on the windowsill?
You can score tiny plants for less than $5.00 at most greenhouses.
Tip: Read the tags. Plants that tolerate dry soil and low light, and succulent plants like aloe or burro’s tail will survive the caretaking attempts of those less-green-thumbed among us the best.
My nieces are very young, but when they receive a coupon for an adventure with their aunt, they are thrilled! I think that’s because memories are timeless gifts.
So go ahead, think it through, then write out that Adventure Coupon. Plan a slumber party with the grand-kids, teach your co-worker to snowboard, sign your sister up to join a cooking club, take your uncle to see that museum he always talks about or help your friend overcome their fear of water.
TIP: to be sure it actually happens, set a date!
While we’re on the subject of coupons, why not write one out for a night of babysitting, or to fix your neighbor’s gutter, or to help your grandfather split that humongous pile of firewood he’s always working at? Trust me, they will most definitely cash it in!
7. REFURBISH IT!
If you’re at the bottom of your piggy bank, and still want to surprise someone with an extraordinary gift, why not re-make a thrift store find, or something you already own?
For gals: If you can sew it into a scarf or dip it in chalkboard paint, it’s sure to be a success. Also, anything of organizational use.
For guys: Four words: Wood, metal & window panes. If it has at least one of those ingredients, you can paint, stain, weather, sand or re-arrange it into contemporary trendiness.
You can also find some amazing furniture steals online and through local thrift shops if you know what to look for! My favorite haunt is our local Re-Store, a partner with Habitat for Humanity.
Even if you only have 10 minutes, one of the very best gifts you can give is your time! Drop a latte off at your friend’s workplace, actually schedule that Skype call, and make the trip to your great-aunt’s house that you’ve been promising her all year. You won’t regret it!
You’ll NEVER regret giving the gift of love.